Happy Canada 150!

May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! - Psalm 72:8

The team at Christian Legal Fellowship wishes all Canadians a happy Canada Day on the 150th anniversary of Confederation. We thank God for His ever-present grace over these past 150-plus years and pray that He would continue to guide and strengthen our nation in the decades and centuries ahead. It is our hope that the refrain “God keep our land glorious and free!” would be a prayer offered up throughout our land that recognizes God’s continued blessing for “every tribe and language and people and nation” who call Canada home.  

The first words of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirm that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God”, and throughout Canadian history, many of our leaders have similarly acknowledged the supremacy of God and prayed for His blessings over our land.

One such leader was Sir Leonard Tilley, who in December 1866 was finalizing the wording of the British North America Act along with the other Fathers of Confederation at the Westminster Conference in London. As the discussions continued, the delegates remained unsure of what to call the new nation.[1] One morning, Tilley, as was his daily practice, was reading through his Bible when he came across the following passage from Psalm 72: “May he have dominion from sea to sea.” Tilley’s son would later write that “the thought occurred to him, what a splendid name to give Canada. When he went back to the sitting of the convention that morning he suggested the word ‘Dominion,’ which was agreed to, and Canada was called the ‘Dominion of Canada’.”[2]

 As Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, later wrote to Queen Victoria, the name was “a tribute to the principles they earnestly desired to uphold.”[3]

In the midst of our celebrations this weekend, let us take a moment to pause and thank God for our great country. As we reflect on both our national achievements and shortcomings, let us remain committed to seeking the welfare of our nation and advocating for those in need of justice from sea to sea. 

And let us pray this blessing for our nation, from the words of David in Psalm 72 (ESV):

Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!

May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!

Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!

May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!

May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!

May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!

In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth!

May desert tribes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust!

May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts!

May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!

For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.

He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.

From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.

Long may he live;
may gold of Sheba be given to him!

May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all the day!

May there be abundance of grain in the land;
on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field!

May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!

May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.

Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!

Amen and Amen!

[1] Michael Clarke, “He Shall Have Dominion: Leonard Tilley,” in Michael Clarke, ed, Canada: Portraits of Faith (Medicine Hat: Home School Legal Defence Association of Canada, 2001) 61.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.